The New York Mets were sold to a Chinese conglomerate for the record price of $6 billion. Mets owner Shalom Cohanim defended the sale, saying that winning a championship would be great but $6 billion is even better. Wee Won, the CEO of the company based in China, explained the deal by noting that since they cornered the real estate market in Manhattan, they might as well buy a baseball team.
Right now, the Mets have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball and must pay a luxury tax. Anybody can buy a pennant. What is more important is making money. The new plan will make sure that the team is profitable.
The new owners expect to change the name to the Mutts, consistent with the direction that they want to take the team. When deciding which dog to purchase, instead of spending a lot of money for a purebred dog, a person might get a mutt for much cheaper. A dog is a dog.
The plan is to move the team to New Jersey. New Jersey will be so happy that they finally have a major league team that they will accept any team. Citi Field was too big and expensive for the needs of the Mutts. A small field is better suited for the team’s needs. They have already convinced New Jersey to build them a new stadium, free of cost, and allow them to make all profits from the use of the stadium. All they have to pay is sales tax. Unlike the Giants and Jets, who play at the Meadowlands in New Jersey but call themselves New York, the Mutts will be known as the New Jersey Mutts. They also have a name for the stadium, which was paid by a carbonated water corporation: It will be known as the Polar Grounds.
The goal is to reduce the entire payroll to less than what Max Scherzer receives per start (approximately $1.5 million). The Mets have valuable players who can be sold. It would be a big windfall for the team to sell their players, since they will eliminate the high salaries and get some money in return. This approach worked well for the Boston Red Sox when they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Other players can be traded for “future considerations,” which will continue to be in the future.
Once they get rid of the existing players, the plan is to bring in players with five qualifications: (1) They are from New Jersey, (2) They have played baseball at least once in their lifetime, (3) They have their own health insurance, (4) They will sign a waiver to absolve the franchise of any liability if they get injured, and (5) They agree to be paid the New Jersey state minimum wage.
The new manager, Casey Stengowitz, explained that fans are sick and tired of watching rich ballplayers with whom they have nothing in common. The new team will be their neighbors and friends whom they will see around town. They will be players who grew up in the state and have a special feeling for what makes New Jersey great.
The 1962 Mets is what they want this team to be compared to. Everybody loved the 1962 Mets. The team may have lost three quarters of their games, but they were entertaining and had a cast of characters. The 2023 Mutts plan to make the 1962 Mets look like an all-star team.
With a long season, it’s hard to keep the fans excited and coming to the games. That problem is solved with the Mutts. The fans will keep on coming to the games to see if this would be the first time they win a game. Even if they win a game, the fans will keep on coming back to see if they break double digits in victories.
They will also save money by eliminating a minor league system. Who needs minor league teams when you have major league team with players who belong in the minor leagues?
The Mutts will be a team solely based on the bottom line. There is no pretending that they really care about the fans. What they do care about is reducing expenses to a minimum. Moreover, they will make some money from fans who have nothing better to do with their time and money than to come to the ballpark. They will make the bulk of the money from the share of television that they get as being part of Major League Baseball. The new owners may be mocked by the sportswriters and fans of other teams, but they will have the last laugh when they compare the income of the Mutts to the other teams.
Let’s Go Mutts!
Have a happy Purim!
By Warren Hecht